Anti-conscription protests grow in Ukraine

Kiev’s imposition of a “third” wave of military mobilisation has reportedly led to anti-conscription protests in several towns and cities in Ukraine.

The measure, announced by President Petro Poroshenko on July 22, affects mainly young men aged between 18 and 25 years of age.

It was introduced in the Ukrainian Rada by Andriy Parubiy, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council. Puribiy is the founder of the fascist Social National Party of Ukraine. In 2012 he joined the Fatherland party of Yulia Tymoshenko. He functioned as a “commandant” of the Maidan protests, organising right wing thugs to back the pro-Western coup in February.

According to the Ukrainian-based Zik.au, on July 22, angry crowds burned conscription documents and attacked the military registration office in the town of Bohorodchany, southwest Ukraine. In Skobychivka village in the same district, residents formed a human chain to block the road from Ivano-Frankivsk to Bohorodchany, holding placards saying “Stop the bloodshed.”

Residents in seven villages in the neighbouring Bukovina region also blocked roads to protest conscription on July 28. In Chernivtsi, in the same district, a group of women confronted a local military recruitment officer and burned conscription orders. One woman complains that the Kiev authorities “are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, but they come here to take our sons and send them to death. They made the mess and now they need us to clean it up.”

The protests seem to mainly involve ethnic Romanians, the second largest minority in the region after Russian language speakers. But there are reports of similar demonstrations elsewhere.

On July 25, in the shipbuilding port of Mykolaiv on the Black Sea, east of Odessa, mothers and wives of soldiers in service with the 79th Paratroop Regiment blocked the Varvarovsky Bridge over the Bug River.

Demanding the return of their male relatives from extended tours of duty, they carried placards reading “Save our boys” and blocked traffic. The blockade was eventually broken up by police on July 27 with several arrests.

The main Kiev-Chop highway has been repeatedly blocked by similar protests over the last month—the latest on July 28, near the border of Slovakia and Hungary.

A report by V. Gritsak, head of the Anti-Terrorist Operation on July 9 said that 1,600 pro-government troops have been killed since April and 4,723 wounded.

According to Ukraine’s private International Commercial Television channel, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has announced that anyone agitating against the regime’s operations in eastern Ukraine will be arrested and face imprisonment.